Cash Crops and Food Security: Evidence from Ethiopian Smallholder Coffee Producers

One of the central questions in food policy debates has been the role of cash cropping for achieving food security in low-income countries. We revisit this question in the context of smallholder coffee production in Ethiopia. Using data collected by the authors on about 1600 coffee farmers in the country, we find that coffee income is associated with improved food security, even after controlling for total income and other factors. Further analysis suggests that one possible pathway is linked to being better able to smooth consumption across agricultural seasons.